Praveen had the sudden urge to pull his boyfriend towards him and kiss him violently right there in the middle of all the guests having dinner. He wanted to flip them all off and shout “ignore that, fuckers!”. He did none of that though, he just violently tore his rumali roti in half and chomped on it. A cook behind him slipped a puri into hot oil and it simmered, he could completely empathise with that puri. What he was simmering at though he was not very sure. He was angry at his family, but he was also pissed at himself. It had been a desperate idea to begin with, bringing his boyfriend to his cousin’s wedding and hoping to get some kind of a reaction from his family.
But everyone including the guests had refused to acknowledge them, just as everyone was desperately denying the stink of horseshit coming over from the stables near the venue, whenever the wind blew. He walked back to the buffet tables, feeling confused, probably just as a confused as the hakka noodles being served between malai kababs and gulab jamuns. “What am I doing here?” he wondered to himself.
As he was having the hakka noodles with some chana masala, Varun came up to him. He was carrying two glasses of mango lassi. He held out one for him and said, “Drink this and chill down, dude!” and he gave his cute boyish grin, just to be sure. He could not help smiling back. Varun stood out in the crowd of shimmering sherwanis and lavish lehengas, in his simple yet classy three piece suit. That and his curly hair that he had tried to straighten out with a lot of gel. Only a bloody South Indian would dress so formally to a Punjabi wedding, Praveen thought.
He took the mango lassi and smiling he sipped it, it was delicious like everything else. That also bothered him a lot, “You know what my aunt asked me?” he said to Varun through mouthful of Chana masala, “She asked me when I was getting married. The gall of it, she has known about us for a year, she even walked in on us kissing remember? And she asks me when I am getting married!” he tore another rumali roti viciously.
“Let it go! I told you this was a bad idea. I don’t even know why you want their approval so badly.” Varun said eating his vegetable biryani.
“I don’t want their approval. I have never wanted that, I just want them to stop ignoring who I am. I want them to acknowledge the person I am, not the person they think I am. How can they ignore us so blatantly? What gives them the right to acknowledge part of me and ignore other parts they do not like?” he chomped on a cucumber for a change, “I wish they would be like all the other homophobic families and just kick me out or disown me. Rejection seems like such a kindness compared to this denial!”
“Of course they are going to deny what they dislike! Look around you, it’s their marriage, their families and their stories. We obviously don’t fit in. This is the language of their society and we do not speak it, so we are lost in translation. It’s not their mistake really. You cannot expect monkeys to understand a kacheri of Carnatic music!” Varun said with a twinkle in his eyes.
“So my family is a bunch of monkeys, is it?” Praveen said.
“Oh come on, that’s not what I meant, you know what I meant…”
“Do you really think we will always be lost in translation?” Praveen said in a more serious tone.
“ Of course not!” Varun said in his most convincing voice, “ They cannot stop us from changing things forever. We will make our own music. Heck, we will have a whole orchestra and make our own symphony. Let’s see how they ignore us then!”
Praveen smiled despite himself. He had come to believe that Varun had a knack for making him smile when he least wanted to.
Varun took both their plates and put them down. He took Praveen’s hand and said, “ Enough with this philosophy, we are here to enjoy, come let’s dance!”
Praveen laughed out loud, “Mr. Varun Parthasarathi, in case you have forgotten, you do not dance!”
“That is true” Varun nodded, “I do not dance, especially not at weddings. But I have a feeling that before this is all done you will make me dance. Might as well learn to dance to our own tune. So I thought, dancing with my boyfriend at his cousin’s wedding might be a good way to start!”
And they did dance and people did stare and probably, just probably they made some music of their own.